Ketones - The Key to a Horrendous Hospital Visit - Part 1

The last few weeks have been quite the adventure and it all began on a normal day...

It all began on Monday when I fell asleep during the day, it was unusual for me as I'm not a day-time sleeper. I wasn't asleep long but when I woke up my muscles were really painful. The only way I can describe the type of pain is either when you've had severe flu or when your muscles are very heavy with lactic acid, except the slightest movement causes them to hurt. Immediately I knew this to be one of my symptoms of high blood sugars. In a way I was in two minds if it was that because my previous test had been 9.4mmol, but you always have to check these things. When I tested, my blood sugar reading showed 25 mmol,very high! So within minutes I'd given a correction dose of insulin and changed my injection site (known as a set change). Normally this does the job or at the very least eases the symptoms of high blood sugars until I'm feeling better. But within half an hour I was struggling not to be sick and felt like the room was spinning. So I tested again and my blood sugars were 27 mmol. At the same time I was testing my ketone levels (ketones are potentially by-products produced when blood sugars are high and your body can't make energy in the right way) and as my blood sugars were going up and up and up, so were my ketones. Then within another few minutes my blood sugars had gone up to 29 mmol (my blood sugar monitor stops reading at 30mmol).

At this point I knew I needed some medical advice because the symptoms were getting worse and giving more insulin was having no effect, so I called NHS direct Wales who were amazing. The took my details and put me straight through to a fantastic nurse who was calm and informative, but that told me to go to my closest A & E to get checked out, which I did. This was where my troubles really began, upon trying to get into the hospital (I wasn't driving of course), we were forced to join a queue that was for everyone, regardless of whether you were an emergency. Luckily my family told the parking attendant what was going on so we could get through. Arriving in A and E I then had to wait to be seen, between numerous amounts of trips to the toilets (high blood sugars make you wee alot). Finally I was seen by a lovely nurse, but in an eye exam room as there wasn't a triage room available. Because I wasn't in a triage room, there was also no diabetes equipment, so the poor nurse had to go off in search of some. Measuring my blood sugars and ketones, nothing had changed so the nurse informed me that I'd be admitted to the ward, but that I needed to be seen in A & E first.

It wasn't far to go, but when we got there it was the busiest A & E department I had ever seen and thanks to diabetes I've seen one or two. There were doctors, nurses, patients and paramedics everywhere so we took a seat in the waiting room and waited to be called. I was then seen by one of the nicest doctors I've ever had the pleasure of meeting, she was friendly, she listened to me and she cared. Unfortunately she had to treat me in the plastering room (for broken bones) because the hospital was so busy, thankfully nobody got me mixed up and tried to plaster any bones. The A&E doctor I saw made me laugh too, when she said that she'd been on her children's ward rotation previously and how nice and big my veins were compared to them (as she managed to find a vein and take blood). So back into the waiting room we went to wait for test results and an ECG to be done (heart check). But when I got up to go and get the test, my legs decided they didn't want work as did the rest of my body and I collapsed. Luckily being caught in time by my partner and my new favourite doctor.

At this point my blood sugars had barely moved, but I was moving onto the ward to receive better care... not to care for other patients as what turned out to be the case... Look out for Part 2.

Me in hospital about to receive my re-hydration drip because of high blood sugars


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My blog takes you through a daily look at sport, diabetes and everything in between. As an athlete that lives with type 1 diabetes I want to let you into news, views and all that is important to both of my passions.

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